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Hunting Fishing

Fishing report for week of Oct. 16-22: Fall-season bass bites good up and down Valley

Compiled by Dave Hurley and edited by Roger George, a former Olympic-class decathlete at Fresno State and striper record-holder at Millerton Lake and who now guides in the greater Fresno area. Telephone numbers are in 559 calling area unless noted.

Photo gallery

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Best bets

Aqueduct stripers biting, Merritt Gilbert said. Success bass active, Chuck Stokke reported. Delta salmon, bass and stripers in the mix, Alan Fong said. McClure trout action continues, Steve Marquette reported. Wishon and Courtright trout bite still “red-hot,” Kelly Brewer said. Bass Lake bass and kokanee bites good, Todd Wittwer reported.


1-Try dynamite

2-Have to work hard

3-Limits possible

4-Fish jumpin’ in boat


Delta Mendota Canal and Sloughs

Striper 3 Catfish 3

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We have been selling plenty of mackerel for the aqueduct in the past week along with sardines, and anglers are also tossing Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointers for striped bass to 23 inches. There has been much more interest in the aqueduct within the past few weeks, particularly the section around Los Banos.” Heavy water releases out of the main San Luis Reservoir are pushing the bait up against the headgates and providing improved clarity.

In the southern section of the aqueduct in Kern County, the aqueduct is still good with blood worms along with large minnows, flukes, and jerkbaits. For catfish, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, minnows, and chicken livers are all working.

Call: Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis 292-3474; Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657

Eastman Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Bluegill 2 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Bass fishing had been solid with big plastic worms from 7 to 10 inches on a Texas- or Tokyo-rig along with small swimbaits such as the 4-inch Kei Tech with a boot tail on a 3/8- to 1/4-ounce jig head, but the scores were scarce this past week. Gilbert said, “It had been very good for the past several weeks, but it went belly up this past week for some reason.”

The lake dropped to 47%.

Call: Eastman Lake 689-3255

Hensley Lake

Bass 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Crappie 2

Gilbert said, “Hensley has also been slow as both lakes are releasing water with Hensley dropping to 30%. The bass had been holding near the rockpiles or near the dam in both lakes, but small bass have been the rule within the past week.”

Call: Valley Rod Gun, Clovis 292-3474; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hensley Lake Hidden Dam 673-5151

Lake Don Pedro

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 2 King salmon 1 Crappie 2

Don Pedro has been challenging for bass, but experienced anglers are finding success while finding the bait is the key to success for trout trollers.

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “We put together an 18-pound limit with no kicker fish with the best fish found as deep as 60 feet. The bass are scattered from 5 to 75 feet, and you have to search around to find them as we went to at least 35 spots and found all of our fish on only two of these spots. When we were on them, it was hot, as we must have landed 50 bass on these two locations. Spooning or G-Money jigs with a 5-inch twin tail trailer on a 3/4-ounce head along with Ned Rigs. We picked up numbers on custom Dead Stick Bait Company plastics from David Coy of Exeter. Once you are on the fish, you have to keep their interest and they will bite as long as they are excited. If you have a lull, they will go off the bite, and you will have to stir them up again. Joey Verna of Stage Stop Gun Shop in Atwater posted a 16-pound limit along with his partner Tom George with their big fish at over 6 pounds on an underspin during Sunday’s Best Bass Tournament’s day two.” The team of Mike Chaddick and Mark McCord following up their 19-pound limit at New Melones with over 15 pounds on Day two at Don Pedro to take first place in the Best Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions, but the weights fell off precipitously after the top team.

The trout bite took off in a big way last week as Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service found the schools at a depth of 60 feet in 400 feet of water in the main channel off of Willow. He said, “The trout are chasing shad, and we ran Speedy Shiners in copper/gold coated with Smelly Jelly at 60 to 80 feet. After picking up a 14-inch kokanee on a Speedy Shiners, we dropped down Apex lures as deep as 175 feet for some additional kokanee. These fish were missing scales, but they were in good shape.” However, this weekend was a different story as Wise had to search high and low for bait before finally finding at the mouth of Big Creek. He said, “We knocked out three rainbows and a king salmon on Speedy Shiners at 3.0 mph at 85 feet within 30 minutes, and my clients wanted to call it a day early. Finding the bait is the key to finding tough. We did find a little bit of bait at 20 feet in Hatch and Willow Creek mouths, but the spotted bass were all over these shad.”

The lake dropped to 82%. A fundraiser tournament for Autism Speaks on Nov. 2 has a 50% payback – contact Michaela Schimgdall at 209-603-5258.

Call: Monte Smith 209-581-4734; Kyle Wise – Head Hunter Guide Service 209-531-3966; Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area

Bass 2 Trout 3 Crappie 3 Catfish 3 Bluegill 2

Bob’s Bait in Bakersfield reported there hasn’t been much change this week with crappie still coming on live minnows around Paradise Cove while catfishing is excellent around Camp 9 with Sonny’s Dip Bait, frozen shad, or clams. The bass bite remains slow. Isabella has dropped from 33% to 32%. The upper Kern River remains outstanding for rainbow trout with salmon eggs or nightcrawlers as the flows are ‘perfect.’ The lower Kern River is kicking out a few planted trout near the campgrounds below the dam along with the occasional catfish or smallmouth bass. In the high country of the upper Kern River, the Golden Trout Wilderness Pack Trains will be taking pack trips through October.

Call: Bob’s Bait Bucket 661-833-8657; North Fork Marina 760-376-1812; Golden Trout Pack Station 542-2816

Lake Kaweah

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Trout 2 Catfish 2

The lake has been dropped to near minimum pool at 8%, and it is difficult to launch a large boat. Bass fishing is showing signs of life with the cooler water temperatures as the fish are holding near the submerged rockpiles where the bait is starting to congregate in deep water. Jigs or plastics on the drop-shot around the remaining submerged structure on the lake have been the top techniques, but the vertical spoon bite should also be coming on. There are some crappie taken from the banks with minijigs around submerged trees or rockpiles in the lowered lake.

Call: Sierra Sporting Goods 592-5212

Lake Success

Bass 3 Trout 3 Catfish 2 Crappie 2 Bluegill 2

Chuck Stokke of the Sequoia Fishing Company in Springville said, “The lake is low, and bass fishing has been good since the temperatures have been cooler. The bass are hitting big spinnerbaits, jigs, and plastics, and there is definitely more interest in fishing since the fall weather has kicked in.” The lake has dropped to 13%. In the Tule River, Stokke said, “The river is fishing excellent in October, especially with caddis patterns for the native brown trout. I fished the North Fork of the Middle Fork on Saturday, and the browns were hitting the dry flies with a porpoise-style of aggression.”

Call: Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626,

McClure Reservoir

Bass 2 Trout 3 King salmon 0 Kokanee 0 Crappie 2 Catfish 2

The PG&E shutdown affected Mariposa County most severely as the power was off at Lake McClure and Lake McSwain at the marinas over the weekend, and Steve Marquette of the Lake McClure/Lake McSwain Recreation Company said, “There wasn’t anything to report over the weekend with the power out in Mariposa County, and we had to close down for the weekend. The power is back on, and the fishing should be back on, as well.”

Prior to the power outage, Marquette said, “You can go out at any time and load up on the planted rainbows from 1 to 3 pounds with various spoons such as silver/blue Kastmasters, Speedy Shiners, Needlefish, or ExCel spoons. I have continued to release the rainbows at the side of the boat without bringing them into the net as hitting the net will cause them to lose their scales and increase mortality.”

For bass, Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “The bite is starting to improve with G-Money jigs with a 5-inch twin tail trailer on a 3/4-ounce jig head at depths from 20 to 60 feet. Numbers can be taken on a Ned Rig with plastics from Dead Stick Bait Company. You really have to work to get them to bite.”

The recent Angler’s Press tournament confirmed the tough bite with most teams struggling for small limits of bass. The team of Rick Rush and Brad Trimble took first with an 11.50-pound limit by working through a series of 2-pound bass with plastics on the drop-shot or umbrella rig at depths to 20 feet over a sloping main lake point. The Kerman Bass Club was able to hold an event on Saturday, and club spokesman Walt Lee said, “There were 12 teams weighing in a total of 11 limits with the big fish at 2.59 pounds.”

Call: Ryan Cook – Ryan Cook’s Fishing 691-7008

McSwain Reservoir

Trout 2

The lake was also closed over the past weekend, and without trout plants, the action has been slow at best although a holdover 9-pound rainbow was landed from the shoreline on trout dough bait near the Brush Pile prior to the shut down. No trout plants are scheduled for the upcoming months.

Call: McSwain Marina 209-378-2534

Millerton Lake/San Joaquin River

Bass 3 Striped bass 1 Shad 1 Bluegill 2 Crappie 3

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “Small spotted bass remain the rule, and although a huge lake-record 10.5-pound largemouth was landed last week, limits in the 9-pound range are the rule.”

The best bite remains with plastics in green pumpkin, Casper, or Purple Ghost on the shakey head, drop-shot, or Ned Rig from 25 feet to the bank. The crankbait bite has yet to emerge, but there are numbers taken on shallow-diving jerkbaits in the early morning. A slow presentation is necessary. Once again, the main lake has been most productive. The lake is releasing water, and it dropped to 60%.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474

New Melones Reservoir/Tulloch

Bass 2 Crappie 2 Catfish 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 1

The bass bite at the Mother Lode lakes remains in the doldrums during this early fall transition period, and the hot trout bite from last week also became a mystery.

The Best Bass Tournaments held their two-day Tournament of Champions with the first day at Melones, followed by day two at Don Pedro. The day one leader was the team of Mike Caddick and Mark McCord with 19.17 pounds including the big fish at 5.63 to take nearly a 6-pound advantage into day two.

Ryan Cook of Ryan Cook’s Fishing said, “It is a tough bass bite in the early fall transition, but with two weeks of cool weather, the action will break out.”

For rainbow trout, Kyle Wise of Head Hunter Guide Service said, “Everything went downhill at Melones as both local guide Gary Burns and myself looked high and low throughout the week, and I must have only landed 5 rainbows in 4 trips. The bait moved out of the Spillway, and I searched Coyote Creek, Carson Creek, the Highway 49 Bridge, Parrot’s Ferry, and Angels Creek. Carson Creek is loaded with shad, but there were no trout there. In fact, we had to shake off way too many spotted bass at depths from 35 to 80 feet. We need rain to get the bite going once again, and the only place I haven’t tried is out in open water in the main river channel.”

Catfish are found on nightcrawlers or chicken livers. Glory Hole’s annual Catfish Contest runs all month. The lake held at 85%.

Call: Glory Hole Sports 209-736-4333; Monte Smith 209-581-4734; John Liechty Xperience Fishing Guide Service 209-743-9932

Pine Flat Reservoir/Kings River

Bass 2 Trout 2 Kokanee 0 King salmon 0 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “The lake levels continue to drop, and the bass bite has been hit or miss as the fish are suspending into deep water. The shad schools have scattered, and the best fishing occurs in the early mornings as the shad has moved into the shallows. Underspins, spinnerbaits, or topwater lures such as poppers are best in the morning before dropping down to 25 to 40 feet with jigs or big plastic worms on the drop-shot or Ned-rig. Vertical walls or rocky outcroppings around Windy Gap have been some of the most productive locations. There has been more interest in trout trolling with the slowdown in action at Shaver and Huntington.”

The lake dropped to 51%.

In the lower Kings River, trout plants continue, and the shorelines have been busy with fishermen tossing Super Dupers, Roostertails, and Mepp’s spinners along with salmon eggs, nightcrawlers or trout dough bait. The best action is in the slower water as the trout are holding adjacent to moving water.

Call: Valley Rod & Gun 292-3474; Sequoia Fishing Co. 539-5626

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay

Striper 2 Catfish 2 Bass 2 Crappie 2

The water levels at San Luis Reservoir are dropping quickly in response to heavy releases down the California Aqueduct for agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses in the south valley and Los Angeles Basin. The dropping water levels have affected the troll bite, leaving drifting live minnows the top technique for boaters. Shore fishing remains best with bait or with topwater lures when the stripers are boiling in the coves.

Merritt Gilbert of Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis said, “We really haven’t heard too much about the main lake this past week as a number of our striper fishermen are heading to the California Aqueduct with the increase in the flows. Stripers to 23 inches have been coming out of the aqueduct with Duo Realis jerkbaits or Lucky Craft Pointers, and we have been selling out of both mackerel and sardines for those soaking bait.”

Coyote Bait and Tackle in Morgan Hill reported drifting jumbo minnows have been the best technique in the main lake while tossing surface plugs or soaking bait around Dinosaur Point have also been productive for schoolie stripers.”

Roger George of Roger’s Guide Service said, “Rapidly falling water, a recent downward temperature spike and a full moon are all negatively affecting the troll bite at San Luis. The overall bite has slowed in the past week as the muddy shoreline keeps getting larger as the lake has dropped a total of 12 feet in the past 12 days bringing the lake down from 61 to 57%. My last three trips have been much slower as I scouted early last week getting only about 12 fish, but one was 17 pounds that I released. The next two trips with guests were really tough bites with lots of suspended, non-biting fish. I would find fish, but they wouldn’t bite much of anything. Both trips produced only 10 to 12 fish with the biggest going 26 inches and 7 pounds on a trolled Lucky Craft at 50 feet. No one area was much better than the others as I searched the whole lake and coves. I have noticed that drifting minnows has been the top technique for the finicky fish from reports that I have been receiving. The water temperatures have fallen to the high 60s from around 70/71 degrees two weeks ago, and I’m seeing fish going very deep and turning off so finding the random schools that are actually feeding seems to be the key. I’m going to wait until at least two days past this full moon to fish again. The combination of adverse factors: full moon, lake dropping and the last cool windy front are making it hard. The State Park is trying to keep up with the ramp and docks in the falling water, but be sure to carefully check the ramp to see if it’s cleaned of the silt before launching. You need to know that San Luis has changed its operating times, and you must be out of the water by the posted time as quite a few boaters got tickets last week when the hours changed. You must be out of the actual gate a couple minutes before 7 p.m. when the gate closes or you won’t be able to receive a Quagga Mussel tag as well as get a ticket. Give yourself time to check out early.”

The forebay is receiving more play from Central Valley striped bass fishermen, but the majority of striped bass remain undersized. The best action has been close to moving water at Check 12 or the Medeiros launch ramp with anchovies, pile worms, or blood worms. The California Aqueduct has been more productive than either the main lake or the forebay with Duo Realis 120s or Lucky Craft Pointers near moving water.

Call: Coyote Bait and Tackle 408-463-0711, Roger George, 905-2954,

High Sierra

Bass Lake

Bass 3 Trout 2 Kokanee 3

Bass fishing has been best for both spotted and largemouth bass near the weed growth at 25 to 30 feet in depth for fish in the 1.5- to 2.75-pound range with plastics on the drop-shot being the top technique. The reaction bite should pick up as the water continues to cool. Todd Wittwer of Guide Service was on the lake on Friday and Sunday with Mike Beighey of Bass Lake Fishing, and he said, “We caught fish from the surface to 20 feet on a pink haze Signature Squid behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle purple Moonshine dodger with the orange Father Murphy Bug behind an orange MAG Tackle dodger also working. We also scored with a pink Dick’s Trout Buster behind a purple/silver Dick’s Mountain Dodger at 2.5 colors of leadcore for a few trout. On the surface, we were using a RMT pink Assassin Spinner in front of a Vance’s copper/pink dodger. Savannah Green from Catheys Valley landed a big kokanee on her 10th birthday. There were a few dark fish in the mix, but most were in decent shape.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 50,000 kokanee fingerlings this year for the future.

The lake dropped to 76%.

The Sheriff’s Motor Fee is enforced on a year-round basis now.

Lake webcams and conditions:

Call: Todd Wittwer 288-8100; Mike Beighey 642-3748

Edison/Florence/Mammoth Pool

Still few reports from the high-elevation lakes, and the Kaiser Pass lakes are now dropping with Edison receding from 65% to 46% and Florence at 51% with Mammoth Pool from 77% to 75%. Mammoth Pool is a still an option for both rainbow trout and crawdads.

For the latest Sierra National Forest road conditions:

Call: Vermilion Valley Resort at Edison Lake 259-4000

Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake

Kokanee 2 Trout 2

The lake is now officially in late fall/winter mode as the kokanee are spent and trout trolling will take over as the fish move closer to the surface as the water cools in the 5,500-foot elevation reservoir. Eventually, the trout bite will improve from the shorelines as the rainbows move closer to the banks. Todd Wittwer of Guide Service was on the lake a couple of days last week, and he said, “We did fairly well from the surface to 25 feet with double Glow or Purple Haze hoochies behind a Rocky Mountain Tackle Moonshine dodgers along with the purple or orange Sunburst dodgers for a few limits per day. The lake rose dropped to 71%.

At Huntington, the lake continues to heavily release water, and it has receded to 52%, leaving the ramp questionable at best for large boats. The lake hasn’t received a trout plant since August, but the brown trout anglers will be dragging their aluminum boats to the shoreline as soon as the first snow shuts down access.

Sierra Marina launch ramp webcam:

Call: Dick Nichols, Dick’s Fishing Charters 281-6948; Todd Wittwer, Guide Service 288-8100; Dinkey Creek Inn 841-3435


Trout 3

The high-elevation lakes on the Kings River watershed are the most productive options for Central Sierra trout trollers as both Wishon and Courtright are producing limits of planted rainbows for trollers and bank fishermen alike.

Kelly Brewer of the Wishon RV Park and Store said, “The trout bite continues to be crazy at Wishon with record limits of trout from the banks and from boats. The lake has dropped below the first turnaround. Trollers are scoring with Wedding Rings tipped with a nightcrawler behind a dodger, Needlefish, or similar spoons in front of the dam and along the rockwall at depths from 10 to 20 feet. Shore fishermen are scoring at the mouth of Short Hair Creek, the dam, and the boat launch with inflated nightcrawlers or trout dough bait.” The lake level is fluctuating for power generation.

At Courtright, limits are also found due to the recent plants with similar techniques to Wishon. Trollers are pulling blade/’crawler combinations, Wedding Rings, or Dick’s Trout Busters tipped with a nightcrawler at depths to 20 feet. Shore fishermen are picking up limits along both sides of the dam or near the boat launch with trout dough bait, night crawlers, or salmon eggs along the dam. The lake levels have been fluctuating with the need for power generation.

Merritt Gilbert at Valley Rod and Gun in Clovis confirmed Wishon being “on fire” for planted rainbows in the 11- to 13-inch range with trollers scoring from 25 to 30 fish per outing, keeping limits and releasing the rest. He said, “Courtright has also been very good for banks fishermen with trout dough bait or nightcrawlers down by the dam, and these rainbows are in the 11- to 12-inch range. Mammoth Pool is another option for both rainbows and crawdads, and we have been selling plenty of mini-crawlers for the high country lakes.”

Call: Wishon RV Park 865-5361


Half Moon Bay

Salmon 2 Rockfish 3 Striper 2

The waiting game for salmon out of Half Moon Bay continues although 100% of the fish that are being taken are from the Coastside Net Pen fish from the Mokelumne River Hatchery. There are signs of Humboldt squid off shore, and since they haven’t made an appearance in local waters for several years, this could give party boats an added feature during the long winter months. Rockfishing remains the staple, and in addition to the Huli Cat being a large party boat running the combination trips, Captain Dennis Baxter of the New Captain Pete will also feature the popular combination trips this season.

Baxter was out on a nature trip over the weekend, and he said, “We saw definite signs of Humboldt squid two miles past the buoy so around 22 miles offshore from the harbor as there were birds working the surface with clear signs of three different squid being eaten on the surface by birds. There is still a trickle of salmon between the entrance buoys, and the best bite remains in the evening, but you have to be the ‘Chosen One’ to put up a score. The private boat, the Noosa Cat, put in his lines, and they had three salmon within 15 minutes, ending up with 4 on Friday evening, and these are all tagged fish from the Coastside Net Pen project. I am still collecting heads in my cooler at the docks, and 100% of these tagged fish have been from the Mokelumne River Hatchery.. I will also be running sport crab trips starting on November 2nd on combination trips.”

Rockfishing remains the story with the Huli Cat running down to the Deep Reef in 200 feet of water for 15 limits of rockfish and a few ling cod to 6 pounds. Second captain Michael Cabanas said, “There were a number of big vermillions along with yellows in the sacks, and shrimp flies were the number one offering.” Oceans salmon fishing ends on October 31st.

Out of Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing, the Riptide and the signature boat, the Queen of Hearts, continue to run rockfish trips with limits being the rule. The Queen of Hearts scored 32 limits of rockfish and 5 ling cod on Saturday working the reefs south of the harbor. They will run rockfish-only trips after the closure of the ocean salmon season until the end of December.

The opening of the recreational Dungeness crab season on November 2nd is a huge celebration out of this harbor, and the campgrounds and parking lot will be full of RV’s, tents, and boat trailers. crab/rockfish trips.

Call: Captain Dennis Baxter, New Captain Pete 650-576-3844; Captain Tom Mattusch, Huli Cat 650-619-0459

Monterey/Santa Cruz

Rockfish 4 Striper 2 White sea bass 2

Chris Arcoleo of Chris’s Fishing Trips reported ‘Lights Out’ action at Point Sur over the weekend with the Check Mate and the Caroline combining for 38 limits of big rockfish and 43 ling cod. Arcoleo said, “The ocean conditions are great, and we put in a number of big vermilions in the sacks. We are heading back to Sur on Monday, and we will be going there when the weather and the number of passengers justify the long ride.”

Crab/rockfish combination trips start on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Call: Chris’ Landing 831-375-5951; Allen Bushnell, Santa Cruz Kayak and Surf Casting 831-251-9732

San Francisco Bay

Halibut 2 Striper 3 Rockfish 3 White Seabass 2 Leopard shark 2 Sturgeon 2

Fleet Week was the highlight this past weekend, and many of the party boats took out combination trips for the viewing of the Blue Angels as well as fishing. The California Dawn out of Berkeley Marina went to the Farallons for 17 limits of rockfish and ling cod to 25 pounds, and they were able to make it back into the bay for the air show. It was more of the same for the New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf out of Emeryville Sport Fishing with a combined 66 limits of rockfish and ling cod at the Farallon Islands on Sunday.

Inside the bay, the white sea bass bite has slowed down to some degree, but the Pacific Pearl out of Emeryville Sport Fishing posted 7 white sea bass on a recent trip along with 15 limits of striped bass. They followed this up with 11 limits of striped bass and 4 halibut on Sunday. Halibut and striped bass remain a viable option with live bait this late into the season. J and P Bait in San Francisco will only be open from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. from Friday through Sunday for the remainder of the season.

Call: Captain Trent Slate, Bite Me Charters 415-307-8582; Happy Hooker 510-223-5388; Captain Jerad Davis, Salty Lady 415-760-9362; Captain Steve Mitchell, Hook’d Up Sport Fishing 707-655-6736

San Luis Obispo

Rockfish 3 Surf perch 2

Out of San Luis Obispo County, rockfish limits were the rule over the weekend with a heavy ling cod for the Endeavor out of Morro Bay Landing on their 12-hour trip to Cape San Martin. The boat returned with limits of rockfish along with 27 ling cod to 25 pounds as part of combined limits of rockfish with the Avenger. The two boats returned with 215 vermilion, 25 copper, 10 Boccaccio, 240 assorted, and a combined 33 lings for limits for 49 fishermen. The Rita G and Fiest out of Virg’s Landing in Morro Bay also posted limits on Monday with 56 anglers scoring 187 vermilion, 285 assorted, 1 copper, 6 Boccaccio, 29 Starry, 2 canary, and a pair of rock sole along with 6 ling cod to 8.6 pounds. Joe Ventura of Visalia took the jackpot with the big ling. Out of Patriot Sport Fishing in Port San Luis, the Patriot and Flying Fish out of Patriot Sport Fishing also put in limits of rockfish for 50 fishermen on Sunday with 24 vermilion, 4 copper, 3 Boccaccio, 372 assorted rockfish, 67 Bolina, 1 cabezon, 2 ocean whitefish, and 4 ling cod. All ports are running a variety of trips in the coming weeks for rockfish/ling cod including overnight trips until the bottom fish closure on December 31st.

Call: Virg’s Landing 800-762-5263; Patriot Sport Fishing 805-595-4100



Bass 3 Striper 3 Sturgeon 2 Catfish 2 Bluegill 2 Salmon 3

The 72nd Rio Vista Bass Derby and Festival was a huge success with a target-length of 30 inches for striped bass and 54 inches for sturgeon with the salmon division winner landing the heaviest fish. The weather conditions were good throughout the weekend which has been a change from previous years where the wind played havoc on the anglers at least one of the days of the derby.

As of press time, Steve Cruz led the adult striped bass division at 29.75 inches and 11.3 pounds with Jason Tenerio in second at 29.52 inches and Mike Percey at 29.35 inches. Charles Leon was leading the adult sturgeon division at 53.17 inches while Ken Baccetti landed the heaviest salmon at 27.2 pounds.

In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Salmon action has been hot and heavy below the Freeport Bridge with Slammer Minnows or P-Line Laser Minnows for those jigging or Slammer Spinners for shoreline fishermen. Davis Cochran of Sacramento posted an early limit from the banks on Sunday morning with Slammer Spinners. Trollers are using Brad’s Cut Plugs behind a Pro-Troll E-Chip 11-inch dodger with a release and the section of river below the Freeport Bridge has been the most productive. Striped bass are found at the Deep Water Channel or at Liberty Island with live mudsuckers along with sardines coated in garlic spray or pile worms. Catfish are also found in the Deep Water Channel with chicken livers or nightcrawlers while a few sturgeon are showing up around the Sherman Island Power Lines. Things are starting to change with the cooler weather conditions.”

Sylvia Vieira of Vieira’s Riverside Bait near Isleton said, “Friday was a good day with quite a few salmon brought in, but the heavy boat traffic from the Rio Vista Bass Derby made for difficult trolling conditions on Saturday as there were several boats on the anchor in the trolling lanes. We only had 4 salmon and 2 stripers brought in on Saturday, but early reports on Sunday morning were good. One of our campers has put in 21 salmon so far this season on his boat, and he is using the Silvertron spinner in purple with pearl beads. For all of the projections of a tremendous salmon season, the action around here has only been fair.”

The Mokelumne River is starting to get some more play as Alan Fong reported good action near Hog Slough with his brother landing a limit of salmon on jerkbaits while targeting largemouth bass. He said, “These fish have been bright and clean. We have been selling everything for salmon in the shop, but the Brad’s Cut Plugs have been difficult to obtain. The Purple Heart Veteran’s custom Silvertron in purple/pearl has been selling like crazy, and the proceeds from sales of this lure are donated to the Purple Hearts Veterans.”

The Purple Heart Veteran Angler’s Salmon Derby is on Friday, November 1st out of the Sacramento Marina, and there are over 100 veterans signed up to participate. More volunteer boats are needed, and if you are interested in volunteering, Darren Butler at (916) 300-5420 is coordinating this important event.

Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors out of Bethel Island reported small striped bass are showing up around Bethel Island, but he said, “The larger fish are still out on the western edges in Broad Slough, Honker Bay, and Sherman Lake. There have been some large fish caught and released on the outgoing tide on the western edge, but the window is very small.

Kris Huff of Stockton and Phenix Rods found great action for stripers in the 20-pound plus range on a recent trip to Sherman Lake on the outgoing tide. Delta Wood Bombers and Dep 175’s topwater lures were the ticket on this catch and release session.

Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, said, “You can fish on the incoming tide as the grass has been overwhelming on the outgoing tide. I thought we would get a good flush out, but it’s not happening, I have never seen it this bad this late in the year.” Wands was out this week preparing for the Rio Vista Derby, and he brought along 4 mudsuckers, and every one of the live baits resulted in a striped bass. Drifting live bait on the outgoing tide and trolling on the incoming tide have been the best bet.

Jeff Soo Hoo of Soo Hoo’s Sport Fishing is back on the Delta after several months running party boats out of Emeryville, and he reported good action for striped bass both with live bait or jigging spoons. He said, “The action is different every day, and the size of the fish is changing. We have landed stripers to 17 pounds, but the majority of keepers are in the 6- to 8-pound range with some up to 10 pounds. The grass has been horrendous on the Sacramento River, and most trollers have switched over to drifting live bait. I have either been drifting live bait or spooning with 1.5-ounce spoons. We have been fortunate to put together limits every trip out, and my sons posted their personal-best stripers on Sunday.”

The six-packs are migrating back to the Delta from the bay, and Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Fishing out of Pittsburg and Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing will be starting their sturgeon adventures in October while Captain Zach Medina of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures will be beginning his ‘catch and release’ trips out of Martinez.

The waters of the San Joaquin-Delta are starting to cool, and the shad is balling up which is a good sign for fall fishing in the Delta. Fresh shad is available in area bait shops, and striped bass are starting to compete with largemouth bass for angler attention.

The top technique for largemouth bass remains punching the weeds as the weather in the Central Valley has continued to be relatively hot, but the transition towards fall is clearly on its way. Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “The key is to slow everything down, and if you are going to use plastics, those with scent are working best. The ima Flit 120 ripbait bite has been red hot, but you have to keep it in the strike zone by creating long pauses in between subtle movements. If the bass are there, they will eventually blow up on the bait, but they don’t want things quick. The ima Little Stick topwater lure is also working, but you have to work it slow. The bass are starting to stack up on the outside of the weed lines. If you are using plastics, Berkley Max Scent products are working best on the Hit Worm, D-Worm, and Bottom Hopper in earth tones, but once again, you have to work it slow.”

Vince Borges of Vince Borges Outdoors was on the Delta for a short stint this past week, and he said, “With the hot weather, it is still a punch bite for largemouths to 5 pounds, and we are also picking up some decent fish on frogs.” Borges will be focusing on topwater and swimbait casting trips for striped bass throughout the coming months.

Dan Mathisen Outdoors Tournament of Champions took place over the weekend, and four teams were within three pounds after day one seeking a payout of $7500 for the 17 boats with Nick Cloutier leading after Day One with over 20 pounds.

H and R Bait in Stockton reported heavy interest in the Rio Vista Bass Derby leading to fresh shad selling out by Saturday. They are receiving regular supplies of fresh shad during the week.

Call: Randy Pringle 209-543-6260; Captain Steve Mitchell 707-655-6736; Vince Borges Outdoors 209-918-0828; J.D. Richey, Richey’s Sport Fishing 916-952-1554

Lake Nacimiento/San Antonio/Santa Margarita/Lopez

Bass 3 White bass 2 Striper 1 Catfish 2 Crappie 2

At Nacimiento, the spotted bass bite is improving with the cooler weather conditions, and there is a topwater bite along with crankbaits at different depth levels along with jigs and vertically jigging small shad-patterned spoons. The white bass have slowed down, but there has been the occasional boil in the coves. Bluegill are found on minicrawlers or small spoons at depths to 15 feet. The fuel dock is now selling fuel again from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The lake dropped from 50 to 48% this week.

At Lopez, the bass bite has slowed down, but there are quality largemouths to be taken on occasion with small surface walking baits before dropping to the bottom with plastics on the drop-shot or Texas-rig. The grass lines remain the top location as the bass are oriented to the submerged grass. There is a good panfish bite for red ear perch or bluegill on red worms or meal worms, and crappie are found in the submerged brush with minijigs.

At Santa Margarita, the bass bite is fair at best, but there have been quality largemouth bass to 5 pounds taken on topwater frogs or walking baits before working the mid-level with crankbaits in shad or bluegill patterns. However, the most consistent bite remains on the bottom with large plastics to 7 inches or large profile jigs. The panfish and crappie bite has slowed. The lake held at 34%.

At San Antonio, catfish remain the top species, and bass fishermen are picking up the whiskerfish while targeting bass with reaction baits. The lake remains loaded with shad, and the bass bite has been slow with the abundant food source. The top technique for catfish has been soaking bait such as Sonny’s Dip Bait, Triple S Stink Bait in Blood Formula, and mackerel soaked in garlic. Bluegill are found on red worms or meal worms. The lake is now on the winter schedule, and the launch ramp is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.


Call: Lake Nacimiento 805-238-1056, ext. 3; Lake San Antonio Marina 805-472-2818; Central Coast Bass 805-466-6557


California Student Angler Tournament Trail, Big Valley Division: Oct. 12 at Eastman – 1, Jon Loya/Lucas Gerondakis (Golden State Grizzles Bass Club), 13.54 pounds (Big Fish 4.86); 2, Brannon Sharp/Michael Musket (Vista del Lago HS), 8.88; 3, Logan Hamilton/Jaiden Vang (Roosevelt HS BFC), 7.94. For more information on how to get involved with high school bass fishing tournaments as a student angler, club adviser or volunteer boat captain, contact Mike Spencer at 261-5296.

Christian Bass League: Oct. 12 at Tulloch – 1, Jonathan Whitesitt/Chuck Fuller, 19.40 (Big Fish 6.10); 2, Kirk Sakamoto/Keith Friesen, 14.66; 3, Bob Etcheverry Sr./Jake Etcheverry, 12.72.

Kerman Bass Club: Oct. 12 at McClure – 1, Ed and Cory Kerber, 11.44 (Big Fish 2.59); 2, Mitch Melikian/Darren Graef, 8.90; 3, Justin Eslick/Chris Griffin, 8.01.

Best Bass Tournaments Tournament of Champions: Oct. 12-13 at New Melones/Don Pedro – 1, Mike Caddick/Mark McCord, 35.16; 2, Kevin Nunes/Scott Taylor, 23.15 (Big Fish 8.31); 3, Patrick Zapponi/Wayne Antoine, 25.10.

Dan Mathisen Outdoors Tournament of Champions: Oct. 12-13 at Delta/Russo’s Marina – 1, Nick Cloutier, 41.08; 2, Jeff and Garrett Bradshaw, 35.69; 3, Harvey Pulliam/Jamond Andrews, 35.52.


Oct. 19-20: Lake Camanche – Riverbank Bass Anglers, Isabella – California Bass Contenders, Nacimiento – San Luis Obispo Bass Ambushers

Oct. 19: Delta/B and W Resort – Fresno Bass Club, Delta/Russo’s Marina – Sierra Bass Club, Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Delta/Ladd’s Marina – 17-90 Bass Club, Pine Flat – RiverRats Bass Club

Oct. 20: Lake Camanche – Yak-A-Bass, New Melones – East County Student Anglers, Isabella – Finatics Fishing

Oct. 26-27: Santa Margarita – 805 Kayak Fishing Club

Oct. 26: Success – Porterville Bass Club

Oct. 27: Delta/Russo’s Marina – Hook, Line, and Sinker

Nov. 2: Delta/Brannan Island – Central Valley Anglers Sturgeon Derby, Lake Camanche – Manteca Bassin’ Buddies, Eastman – RiverRats Bass Club, Don Pedro – Autism Speaks Fundraiser Tournament contact Michaela Schimgdall 209-603-5258

Nov. 3: Delta/Tracy Oasis – Tracy Oasis Marina, Don Pedro – Modesto Ambassadors

Nov. 4: Success – Cen Cal Elite Bass Tournaments

Trout plants

Week of by California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Fresno County: Kings River below Pine Flat Dam

Inyo County: Bishop Creek Lower, Diaz Lake, Lone Pine Creek, Owens River below Tinnemaha, Owens River section 2, Pleasant Valley Reservoir

Kern County: Hart Park Lake, Kern River sections 4-5, River Walk Lake

Tulare County: Kern River section 5

Solunar table









































q = quarter moon > = peak activity

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